Saturday, December 1, 2007

Verizon Wireless opens up

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Recently #2 US cell phone carrier Verizon Wireless announced that they would be opening up their network to cell phones that they didn't originally sell. This means that any unlocked CDMA cell phone will be able to be activated on the Verizon Wireless network. While this is a first in the United States, Manitoba based MTS is actually the first CDMA carrier to activate unlocked CDMA phones.

This gives CDMA users the same freedom that GSM users have always had, the ability to choose their phone if they are unhappy with the phones (or the prices for those phones) that their own carriers provide. While GSM users just have to put in their SIM card into an unlocked phone and use it, CDMA users will still have to visit a dealer to activate a phone even if it's unlocked. There could still be fees involved or a sales pitch to buy a Verizon phone.

Activating CDMA phones will allow switching even easier, switchers will be able to keep both their phone numbers and their phones. All that's needed is for the phone to be unlocked prior to a switch to Verizon Wireless. One of the biggest pains of switching cell providers is learning how to use a new phone and transferring phone book entries, but now even that's not much of a factor.

One thing that's hard to say is how many CDMA phones can actually be unlocked. Carrier lock down is something that had to be added onto the GSM standard so it's easier to defeat, but CDMA phones were designed to be locked down to the carrier that originally sold the phones. When open activation goes into effect some time next year it will be consumer that wins, and until the other CDMA carriers follow suit, Verizon Wireless will also be a winner.

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